Calls for region to repeal anti-gay laws

 

PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten —

Officials attending the 10th Annual General Meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnerships Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) here have renewed calls for the removal of anti-gay laws in the Caribbean.

The outgoing Chairman of PANCAP, St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, said that the region could continue to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic by making a renewed commitment to revisit the discriminatory laws.

Dr Douglas said leaders have used the meeting to contemplate “how we are going to bring back onto the table, though it has serious political overtones, how are we going to reemphasize the need for a revisiting of the laws that have been established in our countries for so many years that continue to discriminate against people who are living with HIV/AIDS and who have been affected as a result of HIV/AIDS”.

“This is the new commitment that we take into this new era beyond 10 years of PANCAP,” Douglas added.

Proponents for the repeal of legislation prohibiting gay sex maintain that the law made no sense and was preventing homosexuals from accessing counselling and testing services for HIV and AIDS.

Former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan who also attended the PANCAP meeting said he was happy to hear Douglas stress the importance of removing discriminatory and prejudicial barriers.

“I think it is extremely important that that this be done as quickly as possible. I would also say that as we move forward we are going to need creativity, leadership and sustained effort,” he said.

Meantime, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé noting that the problem was not unique to the Caribbean said that there are 80 countries in the world with homophobic laws, and 51 countries which do not allow people living with HIV the right to enter or stay in their home country.

“It is a global issue and we need to address it in a very strategic manner. For me what is important in the case of the Caribbean is to review the laws because you have two-thirds of the countries in the Caribbean who have those punitive laws against most at risk populations,” Sidibé said.

 

HIV Antibodies Do Control Infection: New Hope for Vaccines and Treatment

Source

B-cells and neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) might control HIV levels better than scientists previously suspected, according to a single-patient study reported in the October issue of Nature Communications. The intriguing finding, the authors note, could open a new avenue for both preventive and treatment vaccines for HIV.

B-cells and antibodies represent an important arm of the immune system. When a vaccine is administered, it provokes the body into producing antibodies against a specific disease-causing microbe; that way, a vaccinated person exposed to the microorganisms will be protected. Therapeutic antibody vaccines are used for people already infected with a particular disease; in these cases, the vaccines help them control the infection.

Unfortunately, numerous vaccine studies have suggested that neutralizing antibodies don’t help prevent HIV infection. They also don’t appear to help control HIV disease progression very much once a person is infected.

To add a new perspective on the subject, Kuan-Hsiang G. Huang, PhD, and his colleagues from Oxford University in Oxford, England, had the unique opportunity to study for the first time the direct impact of B-cell and NAb levels on the control of HIV. This was possible because they had a patient who was HIV positive, not on antiretroviral treatment and had to have his B-cells depleted with chemotherapy to treat B-cell lymphoma. That he did not require treatment to control his HIV suggests that some immune mechanism was actively suppressing the virus.

The participant was 58 years old when he came down with symptoms indicating that he’d been recently infected with HIV. Three years earlier, he had been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, but the disease was mild enough that he did not require treatment. He was also previously infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), but that disease was also not active. About 30 months after his HIV diagnosis, his lymphoma began to worsen, and he received Rituxan (rituximab). This treatment works by killing off B-cells.

About five months after starting Rituxan, the participant reported feeling unwell, with fevers and malaise. It was found that his HIV viral load had significantly increased, jumping from undetectable to more than 700,000 copies, and that his HBV infection had been reactivated.

At the same time, he had a decline in B cells and a corresponding decline in neutralizing antibodies.

After he completed Rituxan therapy, his B cells and NAbs began to rebound, and shortly thereafter, his HIV levels returned to undetectable. In response to this finding, Huang and his colleagues commented that the increase in NAbs was tied to a reduction in HIV: “There is a clear relationship between the changes in NAb [levels] and [HIV levels] demonstrated in this study.”

It is possible that the reactivated HBV infection—which is known to occur during Rituxan therapy—could have been the reason the man’s HIV levels rose, and not the reduction in NAbs.

The authors stated, however, the participant’s HIV levels became undetectable again quickly and spontaneously after NAbs began to rise, and that this drop occurred despite HBV levels remaining high.

The authors concluded: “This unique study suggests that B cells, and their secreted NAbs, can affect HIV viral load in chronic infection. This evidence, derived directly from observations in man, may inform the rational design of future immunotherapies and HIV vaccines.”

FDA and CONRAD Chart U.S. Regulatory Path for 1% Tenofovir Gel for HIV Prevention

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2010

FDA and CONRAD Chart U.S. Regulatory Path for 1% Tenofovir Gel for
HIV Prevention

Collaborative meeting held with key stakeholders

Arlington, VA – – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held an end-of-Phase II
meeting to determine the next steps required for U.S. licensure of 1% tenofovir gel, a
microbicide product recently found to be effective at reducing the rate of HIV and herpes infection
in women when used before and after sex.

The meeting, held on October 20, 2010, was requested by CONRAD, a division of the Eastern
Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. CONRAD was one of the partners in the Phase II
study, “CAPRISA 004,” which evaluated 1% tenofovir gel in prevention of male-to-female HIV
transmission in 889 women in South Africa. USAID provided funding for the trial, conducted
by the Centre for Programme Research for AIDS in South Africa and U.S. based FHI, which was
the first study to show that a vaginal gel can reduce the risk of HIV and herpes infection in
women. CONRAD manufactured and provided the tenofovir gel for the study.

Tenofovir gel was found to be 39% effective in reducing a woman’s risk of becoming infected
with HIV during sex and 51% effective in preventing genital herpes infections in the women
participating in the trial. Results of the CAPRISA 004 clinical trial were reported in July 2010
and represent the first “proof of concept” for a vaginal microbicide.

A number of key stakeholders contributed to the collaborative meeting with the FDA, including
representatives from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Agency for International
Development, Gilead Sciences, Microbicides Trial Network (MTN), South African clinical
investigators, the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) and FHI.

During the meeting, the FDA stated their preference for two well-controlled studies to verify the
safety and efficacy of 1% tenofovir gel prior to submission of a New Drug Application (NDA).
The FDA furthermore stated that the NIH-sponsored Phase IIB study, MTN-003, known as
VOICE (Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic), represents a second adequate
and well-controlled study that would, if successful, serve as the second pivotal trial together with
CAPRISA 004 to support the submission of an NDA for 1% tenofovir gel.

In addition, the FDA has granted Fast Track approval designation for 1% tenofovir gel, which
facilitates the development and expedites the review of drugs that are intended for treating
serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need. With Fast Track designation, an NDA can be
submitted as a “rolling review”, which allows a clinical trial sponsor to submit completed
sections of its NDA for review by the FDA, rather than waiting until every section of the
application is completed before the entire application can be reviewed.

The agency agreed that the current preclinical program for 1% tenofovir gel is sufficient to
support a future NDA. However, they stated that additional safety data on adolescents would be
needed and that information on in vivo drug interaction studies with commonly used vaginal
products should be obtained. Also, the FDA will ultimately need data on post menopausal
women. It was also agreed that a future meeting with the FDA would be held to address any
outstanding discussions associated with product quality, including chemistry, manufacturing and
controls (CMC). Since much of the clinical work on 1% tenofovir gel has been and will be
conducted in South Africa, FDA officials indicated that they can work through the FDA’s
“Office of International Programs” with the goal of coordinating the data and review processes
with the South African Medicines Control Council.

CONRAD and its partners appreciate the contributions and detailed recommendations put forth
by the FDA, which have helped clarify the next steps required for testing and licensure of 1%
tenofovir gel.

In 2006, CONRAD and IPM obtained a co-exclusive, royalty-free license from Gilead Sciences
to develop 1% tenofovir gel as a topical microbicide for use by women in developing countries
to prevent HIV.

For more information, please contact Annette Larkin, +1 703 772 6427 or
larkinannette@yahoo.com

More Scenes from the Gay games & Jamaica’s small contingent

Identities warped to protect the persons involved but we WERE there folks, another proud moment in our history, photoed are two of the female participants from Jamaica, the males opted not to be photoed and understandably so.

Opening Ceremony

Closing ceremony

more from the opening ceremony

The Parade of nations setting up to enter the Stadium

Jamaica had a two man and two woman delegation team in this years staging of the games who were sponsored by various sources, the men appeared in combined track and feild races while the women appeared participated in the opening ceremony where a combined choir of nations sang, superstar diva Taylor Dayne performed and the nations paraded.

The other female participant played on a combined women’s football team match.

Thanks for sending in the photos guys so I could highlight this.

Peace and tolerance

H

Trends and Causes of Hospitalizations among HIV-infected Persons during the Late HAART Era: What is the Impact of CD4 Counts and HAART Use? (US Study)

Nancy F. Crum-Cianflone MD, MPH; Greg Grandits, MS; Sara Echols, RN; Anuradha Ganesan, MD; Michael Landrum, MD; Amy Weintrob, MD; Robert Barthel, MD; Brian Agan, MD; the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program

Posted: 08/26/2010; J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010;54(3):248-257. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Abstract

Background: Declining rates of hospitalizations occurred shortly after the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). However, trends in the late HAART era are less defined, and data on the impact of CD4 counts and HAART use on hospitalizations are needed.
Methods: We evaluated hospitalization rates from 1999 to 2007 among HIV-infected persons enrolled in a large US military cohort. Poisson regression was used to compare hospitalization rates per year and to examine factors associated with hospitalization.

 

Results: Of the 2429 participants, 822 (34%) were hospitalized at least once with 1770 separate hospital admissions. The rate of hospitalizations (137 per 1000 person-years) was constant over the study period [relative rate (RR) 1.00 per year change, 95% confidence interval: 0.98 to 1.02]. The hospitalization rates due to skin infections (RR: 1.50, P = 0.02), methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (RR: 3.19, P = 0.03), liver disease (RR: 1.71, P = 0.04), and surgery (RR: 1.17, P = 0.04) significantly increased over time, whereas psychological causes (RR: 0.60, P < 0.01) and trauma (RR: 0.54, P < 0.01) decreased. In the multivariate model, higher nadir CD4 (RR: 0.92 per 50 cells, P < 0.01) and higher proximal CD4 counts (RR of 0.71 for 350–499 vs. <350 cells/mm3 and RR 0.67 for ≥500 vs. <350 cells/mm3, both P < 0.01) were associated with lower risk of hospitalization. Risk of hospitalization was constant for proximal CD4 levels above 350 (RR: 0.94 P = 0.51, CD4 ≥500 vs. 350–499). HAART was associated with a reduced risk of hospitalization among those with a CD4 <350 (RR: 0.72, P = 0.02) but had smaller estimated and nonsignificant effects at higher CD4 levels (RR: 0.81, P = 0.33 and 1.06, P = 0.71 for CD4 350–499 and ≥500, respectively).

Conclusions: Hospitalizations continue to occur at high rates among HIV-infected persons with increasing rates for skin infections, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, liver disease, and surgeries. Factors associated with a reduced risk of hospitalization include CD4 counts >350 cells per cubic millimeter and HAART use among patients with a CD4 count <350 cells per cubic millimeter.

Background

Declining rates of hospitalizations occurred shortly after the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)[1–8] along with significant reductions in both the length of stay and hospital mortality rates.[2,9,10] These dramatic shifts were largely attributed to the effects of HAART, which decreased the incidence of AIDS events and improved the immune status of HIV-infected persons. Trends in hospitalization rates during the late HAART era are less defined, with some studies suggesting stabilization or increasing rates of hospitalizations.[11–13] The potential reasons for the lack of continued decline in hospitalization rates include aging of the HIV population, development of chronic end-organ diseases, toxicity from long-term antiretroviral (ARV) use, development of multidrug-resistant viruses, and high prevalence of lifestyle-related factors such as illicit drug use and smoking.

As HIV-infected persons are surviving and experiencing longer life expectancies, hospitalizations have become an important outcome measure and are an important component of excess health care costs among this population. Hence, data on the rates of hospitalizations in the late HAART era are useful for both health care planning and the development of strategies to improve the health of HIV patients. Although higher CD4 counts and HAART use are known to decrease AIDS-defining events and death,[14] their impact on hospitalizations is less certain, especially because many hospitalizations are now due to non-AIDS-defining comorbidities.[6,15] Further investigation into the effects of treatment approaches[16] on hospitalization rates are needed.[1]

We evaluated prospectively collected data from an observational HIV Natural History Study (NHS) to investigate the trends and causes of hospitalizations among HIV-infected persons during the late HAART era. In addition, we assessed the impact of time-updated CD4 cell counts and ARV medication use on hospitalization events during the late HAART era.

  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Baseline Characteristics of Study Population

    During the study period (1999–2007), 2429 participants were followed for a total of 12,923 person years. The median length of follow-up during this period was 5.6 years. Mean age of participants at HIV diagnosis was 30 (SD: 8) years; 91% were male; 46% reported to be African-American, and 41% white/non-Hispanic. Documented HIV-positive date was before 1996 for 48% of participants. Median CD4 count at HIV diagnosis was 488 cells per cubic millimeter (interquartile range: 344–644 cells/mm3).

    Table 1 shows the characteristics of the population during the overall study period and over the 3 periods. The mean age during the study period was 37 (SD: 10) years, mean duration of HIV infection was 7 (SD: 5) years, and 62% were receiving HAART for a mean duration of 4 (SD: 2) years. The mean CD4 count at HAART initiation was 352 cells per cubic millimeter (SD: 207). The mean CD4 count throughout the study period was 554 (SD: 286) cells per cubic millimeter with a nadir of 327 (SD: 200) cells per cubic millimeter, and 52% had a suppressed (<400 copies/mL) HIV RNA level. Characteristics of the cohort were similar over the periods except for duration factors reflecting the aging of the cohort.

    Rates and Causes of Hospitalizations

    Of the 2429 participants, 822 (33.8%) were hospitalized at least once during 1999–2007 with 1770 separate hospital admissions. Of those hospitalized, 53% had 1 admission, 24% had 2, 10% had 3, and 13% had 4 or more admissions. The mean duration of hospitalization was 6.3 (SD: 9.2) days and did not significantly vary over the study periods [6.6 (SD: 5.6), 7.1 (8.2), and 5.1 (3.6) from earliest to latest periods]. The longest hospitalizations were due to drug-related and psychiatric causes with a mean duration of 15 (SD 13.5) and 10 (20.2) days, respectively.

    The overall rate of hospitalizations during the study period was 137 [95% confidence interval (CI): 131 to 143] per 1000 person-years (Table 2). Rates during the 3 time periods were 137 (95% CI: 126 to 148), 148 (95% CI: 137 to 159), and 125 (95% CI: 115 to 137), respectively. The estimated RR slope was 1.00 per year (95% CI: 0.98 to 1.02). Age-adjusted hospitalization rates over the study period also showed no significant change over time (RR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96 to 1.01).

    The unadjusted rates of the primary causes of hospitalization based on organ and disease system categories are shown in Table 3. The most common reason for hospitalization was gastrointestinal (rate 23.8 per 1000 person-years), followed by bacterial infection (17.8 per 1000 person-years), respiratory (15.8 per 1000 person-years), and cardiovascular (12.0 per 1000 person-years). The most frequent gastrointestinal cause was pancreatitis (Cited Here…). There was 40% reduction (RR: 0.60, 95% CI: 0.46 to 0.77) from period to period in the rate of hospitalizations due to psychological causes, which were most commonly a major depressive disorder. There were trends for rising rates of hospitalization for cancer (RR: 1.50, P = 0.06) and cardiovascular disease (RR: 1.24, P = 0.06), and decreasing trends for neurological disease (RR: 0.75, P = 0.05). We also examined the data using 2 df and found no additional categories with significant P values beyond that found with 1 df.

    We also examined rates of selected clinically relevant individual causes of hospitalizations (Table 4). AIDS-defining conditions occurred at a rate of 10.3 admissions per 1000 person-years and did not significantly change over the study period (RR: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.71 to 1.27). Infections accounted for the highest rate of hospitalizations (rate 49.2 per 1000 person-years) and also did not change over time (RR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.84 to 1.05). However, some non-AIDS-defining infections occurred at higher rates over time: hospitalizations for MRSA infections, although infrequent, increased 300% over time (RR: 3.19, 95% CI 1.10 to 9.20); and skin/soft tissue infections increased by 50% (RR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.07 to 2.09). Liver disease due to hepatitis B or C infection, cirrhosis, or other forms of hepatitis also accounted for an increasing rate of admissions (RR: 1.71, 95% CI: 1.03 to 2.83). Surgery as the primary reason for admission occurred at a rate of 21.9 per 1000 person-years and increased over time (RR: 1.17, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.35), as did any surgery being performed during admission (RR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.29). Decreasing rates for trauma-related admissions were noted (RR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.83).

    In addition to rates, the proportion of hospitalizations due to specific causes was examined. AIDS-defining conditions accounted for 133 (7.5%) of admissions and did not change from 1999 to 2007. Infections were the most common cause of admission and accounted for 637 (36%) admissions but also did not significantly change over time. Of infections, MRSA accounted for an increasing proportion of admissions (0.3%, 0.6%, and 2.9%, respectively). Likewise, the proportion of admissions due to skin/soft tissue infections increased from 3.6% and 4.5% to 8.3%. Surgery as the primary reason for admission accounted for 283 (16%) of hospitalizations, and this proportion increased over time: 12.8%, 16.0%, and 19.6%, respectively. By the last study period, any surgery (as either the primary reason or as a result of another reason) occurred among 28.5% of admissions. The most common type of surgery performed was orthopedic (n = 86), followed by appendectomy due to acute appendicitis (n = 37), abscess drainage procedure (n = 37), human papillomavirus procedure for anal disease including cancer (n = 30), hernia repair (n = 30), and cardiovascular disease-related procedures (n = 29).

    Characteristics of Hospitalized HIV-infected Persons and Trends in the HAART Era

    We examined characteristics of HIV-infected persons who were hospitalized (Table 5). The mean age of hospitalized patients was 40.7 (SD: 10.2) years, with age steadily increasing over the study period from 39 to 43 years (P < 0.001). The percentage of hospitalized patients with hepatitis C increased over time from 8% to 14% (P < 0.01). Hospitalized HIV-infected persons had a mean duration of HIV of 10 (SD: 6) years, which progressively increased over the study period (8, 10, 11 years, P < 0.001). The mean proximal CD4 count of those hospitalized also increased, although this did not reach statistical significance: 409, 437, and 466 cells per cubic millimeter (P = 0.18); nadir CD4 counts did significantly increase over time (P < 0.01). The HIV RNA level was suppressed among 47% of hospitalized patients, which did not significantly change over time. Although the percentage of patients currently receiving HAART also did not significantly change over time (overall 70%), the cumulative duration of HAART use was higher over time: 3, 5, and 7 years, respectively (P < 0.001).

    Factors Associated with Hospitalization

    In a multivariate model, factors associated with a lower risk of hospitalization included higher nadir CD4 count (RR: 0.92 per 50 cells, 95% CI: 0.89 to 0.95, P < 0.01) and higher proximal CD4 count (RR: of 0.71 for 350–499 vs. <350 cells/mm3 and RR: 0.67 for >500 vs. <350 cells/mm3, both P < 0.01) (Table 6). The risk of hospitalization was further explored for proximal CD4 strata above 350 cells per cubic millimeter and found to be not significantly different (RR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.88 to 1.14, P = 0.51, CD4 ≥500 vs. 350–499 cells/mm3). HAART use among those with a CD4 <350 cells/mm3 (RR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.55 to 0.94, P = 0.02) was associated with a reduced risk of hospitalization but had a smaller estimated effect at CD4 levels of 350–499 cells per cubic millimeter (RR of 0.81, 95% CI: 0.53 to 1.24, P = 0.33) and no apparent effect at CD4 levels ≥500 cells per cubic millimeter (RR of 1.06, 95% CI: 0.79 to 1.41, P = 0.71). The test for CD4-HAART interaction was not significant (P = 0.13). Chronic hepatitis C infection was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization (RR: 1.46, 95% CI: 1.05 to 2.03, P = 0.02), with trends for female gender (RR: 1.34, 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.80, P = 0.05). HIV duration was also examined but was highly correlated with age. When HIV duration was included instead of age in the multivariate model, it had a borderline statistical significance (RR: 1.02 per year, 95% CI: 1.0 to 1.03, P = 0.05). We also repeated the multivariate analyses for each of the 3 periods; similar results were found, except that female was a risk factor for hospitalization early in the study period (1999–2001) but not significant in more recent years (data not shown). Multivariate analyses were repeated for non-AIDS-defining causes of hospitalizations, and similar findings were noted (Table 6).

    In addition, multivariate analyses for factors associated with fewer hospitalizations due to an infectious cause were performed. Stronger associations were found for nadir CD4 count (RR: 0.86 per 50 cells, P < 0.01) and proximal CD4 count (RR of 0.67 for 350–499 vs. <350 cells/mm3 and RR: 0.56 for ≥500 vs. <350 cells/mm3, both P < 0.01). HAART also seemed beneficial at CD4 counts <350 cells/mm3 (RR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.45 to 0.84, P < 0.01) and at CD4 counts 350–499 cells/mm3 (RR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.34 to 0.99, P = 0.05) but not at CD4 counts >500 cells per cubic millimeter (RR: 1.34, 95% CI: 0.85 to 2.10, P = 0.21) (Table 6). Finally, factors associated with hospitalizations primarily due to a surgery procedure included increasing age (RR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.48, P < 0.01) and race; African Americans compared with whites had a lower risk for hospitalization for surgery (RR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.41 to 0.81, P < 0.01). Neither CD4 counts nor HAART use was associated with admission for a surgical procedure.

    Stop Murder Music France launches action to Sizzla french tour

    JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM OUTRAGE! (LONDON), TJENBÉ RÈD, GIROFARD (BORDEAUX LGBT CENTRE), COULEURS GAIES
    (METZ LGBT CENTRE)

    STOP MURDER MUSIC CAMPAIGN

    SIZZLA IN FRANCE:«SHOOT QUEERS»?!

    (Signatories send out an alert to human rights organisations in Languedoc-Roussillon)
    London – Bordeaux – Rivière-Pilote – Metz, Thursday 5 August 2010

    Press release No. TR10INT11
    _
    On Saturday 21 August, the singer Sizzla will appear at the Palavàs-les-Flots municipal arenas. In 1998, he called for people to «burn the Whites in Jamaica». In 2004, he chanted «Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom».

    In 2007, after having signed the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA), which was supposed to put an end to these comments, he showed he had no intention of respecting his own signature by performing «Nah Apologize»(“No apologies/regrets”).

    These comments and others appear in an Open Letter to the Mayors and those responsible for concert halls hosting Sizzla’s French Tour. It was published on 13 May 2008 by sixteen human rights organisations, including Tjenbé Rèd, Couleurs gaies or Act Up-Paris.

    The signatories call for action from the human rights organisations in Languedoc-Rousillon. Start talking to Sizzla’s fans! Warn the mayor’s office in Palavàs-les-Flots, the owners of the premises! If they claim they are bound by contract, ask them to commit themselves from now on to insert a standard clause in its contracts which would annul any of those signed by artists who have uttered such calls for murder! Ask them to commit themselves publicly never again to host singers targeted by the international Stop Murder Music Campaign (of which Tjenbe Red is the French contact organisation in France).

    These singers are Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Capleton, Elephant Man, Sizzla, TOK and Vybz Kartel as well as Mavado, Dr Evil and Leftside!
    _
    For Tjenbé Rèd
    (Federation for the struggle against all forms of homophobia, racism and against AIDS)
    Chair, David AUERBACH CHIFFRIN
    contact@tjenbered.fr +596 6 96 05 24 55 (Martinique) +33 6 10 55 63 60 (France)

    Pour OutRage! (London), Peter TATCHELL
    peter@petertatchell.net

    Pour Girofard (Bordeaux),
    le président,
    Jean-Christophe TESTU
    girofard@gmail.com – +33 9 81 81 98 77

    Pour Couleurs gaies (Metz),
    le président, Matthieu GATIPON-BACHETTE
    couleursgaies@hotmail.com – +33 6 20 22 40 76
    _
    English translation of this French original text. In the event of any differences between the English translation and the French original, the French text shall prevail.

    5 août 2010 – Campagne Stop Murder Music – Sizzla en France : «Butte les pédés, mon flingue va tirer» ?! (Les signataires alertent les associations de défense des droits humains en Languedoc-Roussillon) – Communiqué commun Girofard (Centre LGBT Bordeaux) Tjenbé Rèd


    OutRage! (Londres) Couleurs gaies (Centre LGBT Metz) – Communiqué de presse n°TR10INT11
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100805-00.pdf [fr]
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100805-09.pdf [en]
    _
    [1] 31 décembre 2004 – OutRage!/ Stop Murder Music/ Dancehall Dossier
    http://www.petertatchell.net/popmusic/Dancehall-Dossier-FINAL.pdf [en]
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2004/20041231-99.pdf [en]

    [2A] 13 mai 2008 – Lettre ouverte aux maires et aux responsables de salles de concerts accueillant la tournée de Sizzla en France – Communication n°TR08POL04B – Signataires :
    Tjenbé Rèd, Académie gay & lesbienne, Act Up-Paris, ADHÉOS, An Nou Allé, Angel, CQFD
    Fierté lesbienne, Couleurs gaies, les Enfants terribles, Ex Æquo, Fédération française des Centres LGBT (lesbiens, gais, bi & trans), LGP (Lesbian & Gay Pride) Région Centre – Espace
    LGBT Touraine, Comité IDAHO (International Day Against HOmophobia), Kaz’Arts, les «Oublié(e)s» de la Mémoire, les «Oublié(e)s» de la Mémoire – délégation régionale Midi-Pyrénées
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080513-01.pdf
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080513-01.html
    [2B] 14 mai 2008 – Tract distribué, sous protection policière, le 14 mai 2008 :
    «Sizzla en concert à Montreuil. Mais savez-vous qui est Sizzla ?»
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080514-99.pdf
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080514-99.rtf
    [2C] 1er mars 2010 – Compte rendu des actions interassociatives menées en février 2010 en France, dans le cadre de la campagne Stop Murder Music, au sujet de la venue de Sizzla – Communication n°TR10SOC05B
    http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100301-69.pdf [fren]
    ENDS
    _

    Largest Gay Market Research Study Expands

    It was announced on July 31 that the world’s largest ever study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is to expand into three additional countries.

    The ‘2010 Out Now Global LGBT Study’ is the world’s largest sampling yet undertaken of LGBT people and will now track lifestyles, consumer habits, social factors, workplace issues, discrimination and demographics across 20 countries around the world.

    In announcing the move, CEO of Out Now – Ian Johnson – said that the new research was becoming increasingly relevant as it expanded its reach to cover the lives of more LGBT people.

    Click LOGO for the Community Values 2010 LGBT Study Page

    “Out Now is really pleased to be bringing its global LGBT study to Poland, Australia and South Africa,” Johnson said. “LGBT people live everywhere, and this new Out Now research measures not just data – it provides a window into people’s lives. LGBT people living around the world are a very diverse group, and no-one has previously considered how their lives are similar – and how they differ.”

    The three new countries being added to the ‘2010 Out Now Global LGBT Study’ are Poland, South Africa and Australia.

    “Out Now’s study now reaches into countries around the world, where more than 50 million LGBT people live,” Johnson added. “Through better understanding LGBT issues and concerns, we believe this study has an important role to play in helping inform governments, NGOs and corporations about a very significant group of the world’s people.”

    About Out Now

    Out Now was established in 1992 in Australia, and has grown to comprise a team of the world’s leading LGBT marketers in countries around the world.

    Out Now is a global LGBT market specialist with two decades of marketing experience relied upon by leading brands including IBM, Toyota, TUI, Lufthansa, German National Tourist Office, Merck, Sony Music, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Citibank.

    The agency has pioneered LGBT market research studies since 1992, and is also responsible for the industry-leading GayComfort.com online LGBT sensitivity staff training and certification program for the global tourism and hospitality sector.

    FURTHER INFORMATION:
    Ian Johnson, CEO, Out Now
    info(at)OutNowConsulting(dot)com
    www.OutNowConsulting.com
    www.GayMarketNews.com

    Phone:
    +44-20-8123 5288
    +61-2-8003 5253
    +55 – 11- 3020 3429
    +1 – 310 – 878 4878

    Christians, human rights and AIDS (Gleaner Letter)

    The Editor, Sir:

    ‘Human Rights Now More Than Ever’ or ‘Rights Here, Rights Now’ was the theme of the just-concluded AIDS conference in Vienna, Austria. Human rights, the idea that people deserve respect, irrespective of race, class, gender or nationality, is an inalienable right of each person. Chief among the rights of each person is the right to life. To this end, each person should live in contexts and an environment in which the right to life is facilitated and upheld.

    Persons infected with HIV and affected by AIDS live in communities, homes and families that are, in some instances, less than desirable for living the good life. In addition, the fact that more women than men are affected by the virus means that families will be in worse situations. Women, in most societies, are either heads of households or the main breadwinners. Once women are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, children are immediately affected. Mother-to-child transmission of the virus is one way in which children are affected.

    Additionally, even if children are not infected by their mothers, they are affected by the compromised care they receive from an infected mother who becomes sick with AIDS. Medication is now available to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus, as well as enable persons infected to receive anti-retroviral medication. In Jamaica, persons affected by AIDS receive medication free of cost. However, because the medication has to be taken at a specific time and with the requisite nutrients, a number of persons are not able to maintain good health.

    Since the right to life is a human right, it is incumbent on all persons to help ensure that each person has access to life in all its fullness. Jesus’ message that He came that we have life – life in abundance (John 10:10) – is reminiscent of the call to ensure that all persons enjoy the basic right to life.

    Advocating life

    AIDS 2010 saw people from all over the world coming together to advocate life in abundance for all persons, and especially persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Stories of persons and communities grappling with stigma and discrimination from family, community members and nationals were reminders that the work to overcome injustice is still necessary.

    Just as Jesus acted in favour of lepers in his society in first-century Palestine, all people, and especially Christians, need to act in ways that will enhance the human rights of all people, and especially persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

    I am, etc.,

    Rev GARTH MINOTT

    g.minott@gmail.com

     Reverend Minott is a Board Member of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and was involved in the Interfaith discussions between Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica (SCJ) and other Church denominations that participated then. 

    An Anti-Inflammation Antiretroviral? CCR5/CCR2 Antagonist TBR-652 Monotherapy Study Results

    By Myles Helfand

    July 19, 2010

    When it comes to health problems in people with HIV, inflammation is the flavor of the day. In the case of TBR-652, a CCR5 inhibitor in the earliest stages of testing in humans, that’s an awfully good thing. What sets TBR-652 apart from other CCR5 inhibitors — heck, all other antiretrovirals on the market today — is that it’s also designed specifically to block another receptor, CCR2.

    CCR2 has nothing to do with HIV, but appears to have quite a bit to do with inflammation. Drugs that can inhibit CCR2 are being explored as potential treatments for a number of health problems tied to inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

    In TBR-652, we may well end up with a case of the right drug being developed at the right time. Well, if the drug actually works, that is. Here at AIDS 2010, David E. Martin, Pharm.D, presented results from a proof-of-concept study on TBR-652: A 10-day monotherapy study involving 54 HIV-infected people. Hopefully we’ll be able to post the slides soon, but the gist is that the drug looked good enough to warrant starting a Phase 2b trial in early 2011.

    Five different doses of TBR-652 were tested (there was also a placebo arm). Among the four highest doses, HIV-1 RNA levels dropped between 1.4 log and 1.8 log over the 10-day trial, a decent showing for an antiretroviral taken as monotherapy. Side effects were, generally speaking, similar to those seen among people taking placebo, with the exception of the highest-dose (150 mg) arm. A greater number of side effects occurred in that arm, though Martin noted that these side effects weren’t any more severe or longer-lasting than those experienced at other doses. The drug appears to have both a long half-life (30 to 40 hours) and a long “ramp-up” time (2 to 3 days), however, so there’s much left to learn about both its efficacy and safety over the longer term. 

    The impact of TBR-652 on inflammation was gauged by assessing levels of MCP-1, a protein that contributes to inflammatory responses when it binds with CCR2. If TBR-652 is doing its job as a CCR2 inhibitor, one would expect free-floating MCP-1 levels to increase, since the protein is unable to bind with CCR2. And, indeed, levels were found to increase in each of the five groups taking TBR-652 (with the difference compared to placebo reaching statistical significance in three of the dosing groups). Martin also offered up a brief case study of one patient in particular who began the study with low levels of MCP-1 and high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), another marker of inflammation. MCP-1 levels jumped from virtually nil up to more than 160 pg/mL by day 10, and CRP levels dropped from around 15 mg/L to 5 mg/L.

    Of course, this is all much ado about very little at this point. Sure, the drug looks pretty good as an antiretroviral and as a CCR2 inhibitor, but we’re talking about 10 days of monotherapy. The drug’s long-term efficacy and safety as part of an optimized antiretroviral regimen will be explored in research set to begin next year. During the question-and-answer period after Martin’s presentation, a couple of people raised the question of what impact blocking CCR2 might have on a person’s body over the long term. One person noted that CCR2 inhibition has been associated with tuberculosis risk, while others touched on a pretty key point: Despite the bad name it gets in the current HIV care climate, inflammation is a fundamental part of the body’s response to infections. If you take away a chunk of that inflammatory response, do you potentially make a person more susceptible to immune system damage? It’d be a bitter irony if a drug designed to hurt HIV’s ability to suppress the immune system ends up suppressing the immune system itself. Martin assured the audience that close attention would be paid to all of these issues as TBR-652 progressed through phase 2b study.

    There’s also a conundrum down the road even if TBR-652 is proven safe and effective: namely, that it’s a CCR5 antagonist. CCR5 antagonists are most likely to work in people with HIV who recently became HIV positive. The longer a person has been living with HIV, the more likely he or she is to have CXCR4-tropic or dual/mixed-tropic virus, which means a CCR5 antagonist won’t work for them. Yet it is precisely those long-term HIV survivors who may be most at risk for inflammation-related complications.

    I don’t mean to be a buzzkill here. After all, in a year that has featured precious few drugs in development to get remotely excited about, it’s nice to see one that’s actually moving forward through clinical trials. But at this very early stage in its development, a cautious hope about TBR-652 seems the prudent approach.

    Send Myles an e-mail.

    Vienna AIDS 2010: Global Health Leaders Say Stigma Exacerbates HIV Epidemic Among Black Gay/Bi Men

    By Rod McCullom

    July 22, 2010

    AIDS 2010: Global Health Leaders Say Stigma Exacerbates HIV Epidemic Among Black Gay/Bi Men Vienna, Austria — From pre-conference events to the massive human rights march through downtown Vienna, world leaders, public health experts and HIV activists honed in with laser-like precision on a common message at The 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna : The ongoing persecution and criminalization of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men — “MSM”, in public health shorthand — are undermining efforts to control the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.

    Chief among the obstacles: More than 80 nations have laws that still criminalize same sex behavior. In some of these countries, conviction can even result in the death penalty, reports UNAIDS.

    Further exacerbating the problem, according to a report by Planned Parenthood, “58 countries have laws that criminalize HIV or use existing laws to prosecute people for transmitting the virus. Another 33 countries are considering similar legislation.’

    The trend is “even more pronounced” across Africa and the Diaspora, said Joel Gustave Nana, executive director of the Johannesburg, South Africa-based African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (ASMSHer). The West African laws vary in extremity — just “exposing a person to HIV, regardless of if the virus is transmitted, is a crime in Benin, and Tanzanian law carries a possible sentence of life in prison for intentional transmission,” reports Medical News Today. While the overall life for Black MSM may be better for in North America, there are drawbacks. The United States and Canada lead the world when it comes to prosecuting people who infect or expose others to HIV, a surprising new study reveals. Black men have been disproportionately targeted with these prosecutions. A Black, gay, HIV positive Michigan man was recently as charged as a bioterrorist for allegedly biting a neighbor’s lip during a scuffle, Black AIDS Weekly reported in June.

    “The prosecutions are arbitrary,” said Nana, in an interview after a press conference organized by The Global Forum on MSM & HIV. On Sunday, the day before the conference officially opened, the Global Forum held a 24-hour event to address the soaring global rates of MSM seroconversions.

    “The stigma, discriminatory laws and criminalization of HIV transmission encourage the spread of this disease,” adds Nana. “Why should someone seek testing or medical advice come forward if you could be arrested? There is no incentive.”

    The fear of “coming out”, pop culture which celebrates homophobia and churches and churchgoers that demonize gay Black men compound the problem for black MSM in America, the Caribbean and Africa.

    “This is the context in which you have a runaway, dangerous HIV epidemic in Jamaica,” adds Robert Dr. Robert Carr, the co-chair of ICASO, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO). “There is a clear link between religious condemnation, criminalization, stigma and HIV infections. We see this all the time in the Caribbean.”

    Carr adds: “Politicians and church leaders endorse homophobic violence. Police refuse to protect MSM or are complicit or directly involved in the violence,” he said, referring to a now-infamous incident of a 2,000-strong mob surrounding several gay men and stoning them. The police were called to the scene and the officers also struck the young men.

    Carr sighs. “With Jamaican MSM infection rates at 32 or 33 percent, it became obvious that you couldn’t do effective HIV work in this context.”

    Although a state sponsored, religious-based terror campaign has targeted African MSM from Algeria to Zimbabwe, there are some positive developments to report from AIDS 2010.

    “We now have 14 countries out of 54 that include men who have sex with men in their national HIV strategic plans,” AMSHer’s Joel Nana said. “It doesn’t mean the services will be delivered to those populations, but it is an acknowledgment. That’s a first step.”

    “Kenya was the first African nation to include MSM in their national HIV strategy,” Nairobi-based peer educator Job Akuno told Black AIDS Weekly. Akuno is a counselor with the Nairobi-based SHAP, Scaling Up HIV and AIDS Prevention, partially funded by PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. “That was in 2006. But … it seems like we are rolling back on some of the gains that we made.”

    “Kenya is starting to look like one of the countries that we should look up to,” Nana adds. “The HIV movement is more open to include MSM. And there is a strong MSM movement in Kenya, too . It is one of the few countries in Africa where a MSM organization was able to place an ad in the newspaper for the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.”

    Akuno says the HIV Prevention and Control Act criminalizes deliberate HIV transmission. “The sentences are up to 10 years. No one has been prosecuted, but now there is talk to make the law harsher. If you criminalize HIV transmission or only target MSM, that will further stigmatize the disease and drive many people into not wanting to know their results. ”

    Job Akuno shrugs. “What can you do but hope for the best?”

    Rod McCullom, a writer and television news producer, blogs on Black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news and pop culture at rod20.com.